Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015

This year the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize will go on display alongside previously unseen prints by the award-winning South African photographer Pieter Hugo. The exhibition will open in November at  the National Portrait Gallery, London, and will make up the inaugural In Focus presentation.  This new part of the show is set to become an annual showcase for new work by an internationally-renowned photographer, which will be exhibited alongside the photographs selected anonymously from the competition entries. Hugo was selected for  his uncompromising, insightful and occasionally provocative approach to portraiture.

Focusing on marginalised communities in Africa, Hugo is known for his documentary-style portrait photographs.  Over the years he has turned his camera towards honey gatherers in Ghana, boy scouts in Liberia and taxi washers in Durban. His most well-known work is The Hyena & Other Men (2007), a collection of striking portraits of the “Hyena Men” who roam the streets of Nigeria’s cities accompanied by hyenas and baboons, performing for crowds and selling traditional medicine.

Kin, Hugo’s most recent publication, was shot over the past decade and focuses on his personal experience in his native South Africa – his family, the community, and himself. The artist has seen his photography exhibited world-wide and he has also published eight volumes of work and won numerous international awards, including two prizes at Rencontres d’Arles in 2008 and the Seydou Keita Award at the Bamako Encounters African Photography Biennial in Mali in 2011. He was also shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize in 2012.

Photographers are currently invited to submit work for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2015, which is open until Monday 6 July. This year, for the first time, entrants are being encouraged to submit works as a series – either a group of individual portraits based on a particular theme, or two or more photographs that form a single portrait when shown together – in addition to stand-alone portraits. One series of works submitted to the competition may be chosen by the judges to be exhibited in its entirety.

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize is one of the most competitive photography awards in the world and celebrates some of the most exciting and cutting-edge contemporary practitioners. Founded as an international competition in 1993, the prize showcases both acclaimed professionals and emerging artists. It is a hugely important platform for portrait photographers across the world. The judges select winners anonymously from an open competition, looking for new approaches to the genre. As such, the final exhibition also highlights a varied selection of portrait images, including formal, candid, and experimental.

This year’s judging panel will include Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery; Dr Phillip Prodger, Head of Photographs, National Portrait Gallery; Hannah Starkey, Photographer; Anne Lyden, International Photography Curator, Scottish National Portrait Gallery; and Tim Eyles, Managing Partner, Taylor Wessing LLP. One further judge is still to be confirmed. The competition is open to anyone over the age of 18.

Full information about how to enter, including entry forms and rules, can be found online at npg.org.uk/photoprize.

1. Loyiso Mayga, Wandise Ngcama, Lunga White, Luyanda Mzantsi and Khungsile Mdolo after their initiation ceremony, Mthatha, by Pieter Hugo, 2008 © Pieter Hugo.